For a hair stylist just setting up shop, the concept of self promotion can be very confusing. Every time you fire up the internet, you come across coaches and consultants with can’t miss hair salon marketing ideas for your fledgling business.
But despite the many systems, plans and innovative ideas being pushed your way, your website is still the most cost effective tool for hair salon marketing. It’s one of those advertising ideas that continues to stand the test of time.
Unfortunately, the thought of using articles for advertising is a non-starter for the average stylist or small salon owner. That’s a lot of missed opportunity because most larger salons have the same attitude. There’s no easier way to promote yourself and compete with the big boys than to be where they’re not, doing what they won’t.
Wander across the internet and check out your competition. You’ll probably see the same thing I see. There are a few large salons who have latched onto this idea, like Wellington Hair Spa in New York City, but most of the big boys aren’t very bloggified. Some dabble, but very few take it seriously enough to have a regular schedule for publishing articles.
Maybe they don’t feel the need to maximize this particular idea. Perhaps they’re just satisfied with the results they’re getting from their salon’s current advertising plan. I find this kind of strange.
Picture this. You’re a hair stylist with a box full of tools made specifically to snatch up hair stylist clients. One specific tool has been proven to work time and time again. Why then would you simply decide, “I don’t like it, I’m not using it and you can’t make me.”
What kind of goofiness it that? Cheddar is cheddar. And if you’ve got unencumbered access to a system that will help you get more cheddar for your small salon or that chair you’re so proudly standing behind, why wouldn’t you use it?
The usual excuse is that creating articles on a regular basis takes too much work. It’s far easier to just drop a few bucks on Google Adwords and call it a day.
There’s is a time and a place for a little PPC. But before you wander up to the PPC alter thinking that it’s the end all and be all for all your salon outreach woes, let’s spread a little knowledge in your direction.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a PPC hater. Podcast episodes 76 and 77 were all about promoting your small salon using Google Adwords. I’m already working up a few ideas for a future article on beauty salon Facebook ads just for the heck of it.
I’m not Pay Per Click averse. It’s just not a swiss army knife. It won’t work for every small hair salon marketing scenario.
Shade Wilson from web marketing company Scalability Project points out that choosing between Pay Per Click Marketing and Content Marketing starts “with a clear understanding of what is the problem you are trying to solve.” Both are effective at what they do. Neither is very good at doing what the other does.
Let’s say you’re a stylist in a new town. You just opened and you don’t have much of a clientele yet. You’ve got the skills, but not the rep. You need to get the word out, fast.
You know that every single day, people go online looking for a new stylist. Someone who does what you do, where you are now doing it. You need those wandering eyeballs to come to rest on your salon website. And you need them to do that sooner rather than later.
PPC is probably a good fit for that scenario. Again quoting Shade Wilson, “Pay Per Click Marketing has the advantage of being fast to implement and fast to see if your campaign will yield results. Getting a campaign up and live can happen in a matter of hours from keyword research to live ads.”
However, Wilson also cautions that “with this speed comes cost and the need to monitor closely to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment.” Translation? With Pay Per Click advertising, you can crush your budget pretty quickly and have nothing to show for it.
Blogging is not “quick hit” advertising. It’s a long term marketing play that becomes more powerful with each new item you add to your site. According to Mr. Wilson it’s one of those ideas that’s a natural fit for hair stylist advertising. The beauty business “depends on understanding the customer and finding the right solution for their needs.”
It’s a “Solution Selling” approach that helps your customers by providing value and demonstrating that you understand the problem they’re looking to solve.
For example, if you’re a colorist, you know that sometimes, tragic hair stories begin as great ideas in the aisles of Wal-Mart and Target. And while I am poking a little fun, these are real people in real distress.
Many of these folks will inevitably turn to the internet for relief from their self inflicted pain. When they do, they’ll bump into your well crafted article that’s filled with ideas about home hair color repair. Your article is there to provide relief and secure your place as a trusted local hair authority.
via Comparing Pay Per Click Marketing vs a Content Marketing Strategy Which One is Right for Your Business.
This doesn’t need to be an either or scenario. There’s nothing wrong with a hair salon that uses Pay Per Click advertising for the quick hit and article marketing for the long game. With Pay Per Click advertising, your turn it on when you need it and turn it off when you don’t.
Articles on your website take a little time to gain traction. However, you only create them once. Targeted correctly, they’ll produce leads for years to come.
This is one of those hair salon marketing ideas that generates a lot of mental constipation. It’s a hard sell to tell a hair stylist to create something today so it will bring you new leads next month, next year, two years from now etc. Of course, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Inbound marketing is an important part of your hair stylist advertising mix. Blogging is just one piece of the pie. This infographic from PRWeb illustrates other marketing ideas you may want to explore. Click the image for the full infographic.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can’t get there from here”? It’s a silly expression but a lot of people have that mentality when it comes to putting a blog on their website. That’s unfortunate because it’s not that difficult. Simply populate your website with interesting, compelling content that Google loves, and that prospects who are your future customers are looking for. And then do it on a regular basis.
If you noticed, nowhere in that description did I say you had to create or write anything. You don’t. If you’re a hair stylist, then you are most likely incredibly skilled at cutting and coloring but less so where the written word is concerned.
Luckily we live in an age of specialization so you don’t need to be good at that. There is an entire industry of creatives that are willing to assist you for a fee. You simply need to find them, hire them, give them a few ideas and tell them to start writing.
Before you wander over to Google and run a search for your own personal Hemingway, a word of caution is in order. There is no shortage of available writers willing to create content about hair salons, beauty salons, beauty tips, summer beauty tips or whatever other keyword you point them at.
You’ll need to exercise a little due diligence. If you’re not careful, you could easily end up with articles that are perfect for a pet grooming salon instead of well crafted articles targeted at beauty salon customers. (Only a slight exaggeration.)
Finding freelance writers for your website isn’t very difficult. Two of the more popular sites for freelancers are Odesk.com and Freelancer.com. You could also type “Blog Article Writers” into your favorite search engine and see what comes up.
If you decide to search through Google, let me warn you about one site that may show up in your search results. Fiverr.com is an interesting site. It’s a meeting place where people offer many curious services for five dollars, including creating content for your website.
Quality: One of those silly ideas that suffer when you go the cheap route.
You’re building relationships with your content. Quality is crucial. You’ll need one or two hair and beauty related articles each month. 500-600 words seems to be the sweet spot for moving the dial with Google.
Quality 500 word beauty salon articles for five dollars don’t exist, unless you write them yourself. Fiverr is convenient for a lot of things. Finding article writers isn’t one of them.
Finding writers isn’t difficult. Screening them, on the other hand, can be an uncomfortable process. Especially when you’re new to blogging and don’t know what you’re looking for.
They’re written in easy to understand, non-geek language and cover the most common items to screen for and one or two “good to know items”:
Use Negative Qualifiers.
You want to do your best to weed out wastes of time and you can do that with qualifiers. For example, you can tell them to respond with a certain email subject line. If they don’t do that, then it shows they didn’t read the ad and they’re probably just mass applying. Saves you time.
via Blog Marketing Academy: How To Find and Hire Writers For Your Blog (The Complete Guide)
Describe the Proper Layout and Format of a Blog Post.
An effective blog post holds a different structure than any other content type. Does your candidate know how to lay out and format a blog post? If you’re conducting an in-person interview, ask them to draw a properly laid out and formatted post. If you’re conducting an interview over the phone, provide a blog post and ask them what about the layout and formatting is correct, and what is incorrect. Look for responses like:
If you hire a freelancer who turns in work without properly laying out and formatting content, you’re creating unnecessary work for yourself that negates the reason you’ve outsourced blog content creation in the first place.
via HubSpot: 9 Questions You MUST Ask Before Hiring a Freelance Blogger
I often refer to the salon website as online real estate. It’s the focus of all of your other online activities, it’s the only space you control and it increases in value if you continue to build on it.
The plain truth is that most salons and stylists will never fully realize the value of their websites. The hair stylist that takes steps to add blogging to their site will have a competitive advantage for a very long time.